Every day when the alarm rings, I think its a song playing in the background in my dream. When the same song plays for 3-4 sequences, I realise that its actually my alarm. If its anywhere beween 6 05 am-6 30 am, I decide that its too late to get ready for the gym, as attending the gym, would then make me late to start. So I decide, that having lost out on the gym time, its time to borrow that, and add to the investment called sleep. At 7 am, I know that I cant prolong this further, and head to ablutions and the morning newspaper. I leave at 8 in the morning, and know that I cant delay any further. Here is where the madness starts
If I leave beyond 8 04 am, I may just make it for the 8 16 Thane Fast local, or just miss it by a whisker. The advantage in this train is that I may get a place to sit, if I rush and jump in as the train comes in to Mulund station. The oppurtunity cost of this local is that I miss close to 6-8 locals, and reach only by 9 40 to office as I have to wait for this train to go to Thane and then start towards the opposite direction.Next options are either to take the slow local or the fast local that drectly go towards CST.
Fast locals, come once in 7-8 minutes, and are intensely packed. My probability of getting in is 5%, as I need to compete with people who are overzealous to reduce commute time by a whole 20 minutes. I have to visualise myself jumping in, and incase I do, I do get hurt with some part of the body getting the bruise, but I manage to get the inchspace to stand like a statue for the next 30 minutes, till I reach Dadar. Its not about getting in, but to get in to the space between two seats, so that passerby's entering at other stations dont push you. In this mad rush, I either scratch my phone, wet my shirt with sweat all over, break my lunch box or break my watch, if the crowd after me builds in, and pushes against my back, as I invariably end up in a dead end of big fat arses. Having got in, I have no choice but to be a statue, where the only movement of the body, comes through breathing. My face ends up between the armpits of two sweaty corpulent men, who speak on which stock to invest. First class or 2nd class, doesnt matter. The density of people in the second class compartment is 3-4 times of the first class, which I use.
Sometimes I have no idea, which station is the train stopping in, as I am surrounded by people on all sides, and sunlight never manages to reach me. Sometimes, when I get the courage to reach for my mobile in my pocket, I do check my position via GPS, but otherwise I recognise that Dadar is approaching when the momentum builds in people like a volcano in a mountain. A major tsunami of people get out or get pushed out when Dadar approaches. The train is subjected to intense condensation when Dadar arrives and is similar to 'liberation' for a bunch of tightly bound cattle.
If I took the slow local from Mulund, I would get some space to stand, where movement can be seen in my body parts, and if I can push a few people into submission, I can even open ET or Mint and read the headlines a 100 times over. Not that I dont want to read further, but there is no space for folding or turning pages with your hand. The last time I tried, I knocked out the spectacles of a man, with my elbow. I gave up the quest of erudition, via headlines a while back, after fighting it tooth and nail to turn pages. Now I prefer the mobile version of news, if I manage a slow local.
After getting down at Dadar Central, I have to head to Dadar Western by competing with a million commuters, who are sweating in bucketfuls, after undergoing similar struggles in commuting. I board a local for Lower Parel, and then walk in the sun for about 15 minutes and reach office, exhausted and tired.
I repeat the same process during the evening 'super dense crushed load peak hour' (from 6 pm to 9 pm) and incase I have a bad day at work, the pressure and discomfort adds up and you still think I have a Life?
I dont intend to complain, but the everyday Mumbai Train adventure is taking a toll on my life and energy levels. Need to get some smiles back in life!